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Canary Islands facing new crisis as Brits could see holidays ruined by huge beach strike


New Canary Islands beach strikes could ruin four tourist hotspots as staff protest their working conditions this weekend.

Thousands of Brits could be left without sunbeds and umbrellas from Saturday in the San Bartolomé de Tirajana region of Gran Canaria, the third-largest island of the Canary Islands. 

The beach staff aim to protest about their precarious working conditions, risking there being no staff on the popular beaches of Playa del Inglés, El Cochino, Maspalomas, and Meloneras, according to the Canarian Weekly. 

The indefinite strike will begin on Saturday, June 8, aimed at Perfaler SL, a company that employs the workers but saw their service contract expire in 2011. The Federation of Canary Islands Trade Unions (FSC) and the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) have expressed their frustration over more than a year and a half of failed talks with the company.

They issued a statement explaining the strike had been called as a result of prolonged negotiations failing to reach an agreement. The unions have demanded updates to their working conditions to meet current legal requirements, but have seen little progress. 

Their demands include enhancing health and safety measures, additional training to prepare for organisation and technological changes anticipated with the new service tender and improvements to social conditions such as work hours and wage adjustments. 

Local authorities remain hopeful of finding a solution to the problem, with Yilenia Vega, the municipal councillor overseeing the area, confirming that the local government is considering increasing payments to Perfaler SL to help support better wages for the workers.

However, it is expected that the increase would be gradual and might not be enough to prevent further conflict. There is now real concern over how the precarious start to the summer season could impact the area. 

Every year, the so-called “sunbed wars” ensues, with not enough to go around. This year’s protests could cause carnage on a new scale. Tourists in Zante have already been slammed for reserving sunbeds with towels before 7am, while tourists in Spain were criticised for selfishly stacking sunbeds. 

Last Saturday, the Majorca Plaja Tour social media group held a small protest on Sa Rapita beach on the Spanish island, with the next protest planned for June 16 at Caló des Moro in Santanyi, as a “symbol of overcrowding”. Pictures showed families and locals gathering under umbrellas, reminiscent of how the beaches look during the summer season, with the slogan “Ocupem Les Nostres Platges” – or “We occupy our beaches”.

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